Embracing New Adventures: An Early Adolescent Program Update 

Open Sky’s early adolescent program has now seen its first students from enrollment through graduation. Since the program’s launch in June, the early adolescent team has been hard at work treating the unique developmental needs of this population while actively engaging the family system in the therapeutic process. We recently sat down with Early Adolescent Program Director Liz Lucarelli and Clinical Therapists Mark Sobel and Julia Lehr to discuss how the first six months unfolded and what’s next for the program!

Interview Excerpt:

Liz Lucarelli: 
From the Student and Family Pathway work to expeditions to equine-assisted learning, students and families are responding very well to the early adolescent program. We have been thoughtful with the group size and make up, which means strong bonds have formed between students, guides, and therapists. It is impressive to see our younger population doing such hard but important work. They are giving feedback, practicing assertive communication skills, helping their team members, and learning how to respect each other. While the early adolescent students are creating bonds in the field, so are the parents through the Open Sky community and the additional services we offer for families.​

Click the link below to hear more from Liz, Mark, and Julia!


Get to Know Julia Lehr, Clinical Therapist for Early Adolescent Girls

"My approach with early adolescent students is both strategic and integrative. Strategically, I work with the family and the wilderness environment as well as the guides and the team to create unique and creative interventions."

Get to Know Mark Sobel, Clinical Therapist for Early Adolescent Boys

"My approach with working with early adolescents is a real mix of playfulness combined with directness. I think that for so many early adolescents, a pivotal part is to see that someone is honoring, valuing, and respecting the validity of their experience."

Social Resilience in Early Adolescence: How Wilderness Builds Communication and Relationship Skills

Julia Lehr, MSSW, LCSW, AMFT | Clinical Therapist | Early Adolescent Girls

Article Excerpt: ​​​​​
If we can support students early on in their development, then they have access to valuable skills as they transition into adolescence. By the time they’re in high school or an adult, they’re able to set and respect boundaries and speak to their wants and needs within relationships, rather than being compliant, passive, or avoidant. 

Imagine That: The Importance of Creative Play for Early Adolescents

Mark Sobel, LCSW | Clinical Therapist | Early Adolescent Boys

Article Excerpt: 
​​The long-term mental health effects of isolation due to Covid-19 are yet to be determined, but there are strong indications that anxiety and depression, specifically for children and adolescents, rise even after quarantining.

For young teens, one of the best antidotes to isolation and poor mental health is simple: play. 



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